Snubbed Swamp Stompers Want Help From U of M

Swamp Stomp is the type of homegrown indie music bash that deserves some support. What began as a few bands on a makeshift stage -- at a beer-soaked U of M house party in 2007 -- has matured into a "foot stompin', hand clappin'" showcase of underrated local talent. Last year it drew more than 1,000 fans.

All along, creators have stayed true to their University of Miami roots: The entire management staff of 15 are either current or former students, along with about 70 percent of the bands.

So it struck staffers as particularly harsh when, after hanging promotional posters in the university center last week, administrators told them they'd have to pay up. The rule: Outside vendors would be charged $2 per poster -- per day.

Staffer Sanjay Palta, a music business major, did the math and realized the fee would total $4,800 -- more than what it cost to put on the entire show. He wants the school administrators to cut them a break for two reasons: 1)The university should want students to succeed. 2) The show does something good culturally for the community. "It was weird," he says. "I don't understand how you can go to school there and then they treat you like an outside contractor. '"

Dan Westbrook, director of the Whitten University Center, did not return calls for comment.

It's not the first time the private university has clashed with student-run businesses on campus. Administrators last year banned Backslash Magazine from distributing, after copies were found in common areas without permission.

Swamp Stomp organizers now have sponsors (including New Times), an outdoor venue, and a website where tickets go for $8. It's set for April 24.

Update: Palta  wrote to explain he is working with the dean of student affairs. He now estimates the cost of the posters would total $1,700.


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Natalie O'Neill
Contact: Natalie O'Neill